Some rejected Chrysler dealers turn to used cars

Future on hold at Chrysler
Future on hold at Chrysler Rashaun Rucker/Detroit Free Press/MCT

MIAMI — The Monarch Dodge showroom in Lauderdale Lakes was empty and dark Wednesday, a day after a New York bankruptcy judge gave Chrysler permission to cancel 789 dealer agreements.

Monarch had corralled dozens of new Dodge cars and trucks into a fenced lot behind the dealership.

Mark Hodos, president of the dealership, declined to comment on the termination of his dealership agreement after more than 35 years in business, but he was visibly upset.

Two other South Florida dealerships that lost their Chrysler affiliation, though, remained open for business.

Miami's Tamiami Chrysler Jeep Dodge, which has about 200 new vehicles at its store at 8250 NW Eighth St., and Homestead's Spitzer Autoworld now are focusing on selling used vehicles while holding out hope they land a franchise agreement with another carmaker.

Chrysler has promised dealers it will redistribute new-vehicle inventories on rejected dealers lots to other dealers who remain part of its retail network. For dealers who have agreed to transfer their vehicles, they or their lenders will be reimbursed the vehicle invoice price less any holdbacks and a $350 fee for inspection and shipping costs on each vehicle, Chrysler has said.

Though some dealers expressed skepticism about whether Chrysler would actually honor its commitment, Chrysler spokeswoman Kathy Graham said it had to wait until the bankruptcy judge ruled before it could proceed with the plan. The process of moving vehicles between dealerships began Wednesday, she said.

Chrysler's termination of nearly a quarter of its dealers has spawned bargain hunters trying to buy a new car for thousands of dollars below invoice price from rejected dealers. However, Spitzer lawyer Tony Giardini said it has stopped selling new Chrysler vehicles because it expects to receive more money under Chrysler's redistribution plan than from individual vehicle sales.

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